It was a month or so ago, when chatting with a fellow full-timer somewhere in Arizona, that he told me if ever I were in Oklahoma City, a must stop has to be the Oklahoma City bombing memorial. This man was emotionally moved. I passed his reaction off as biased. Afterall, I had touched the “Wall” in D.C., memorializing those 57,000 that gave their lives in Vietnam. I had biked to the hills of western Pennsylvania to visit the site where Flight 93 went down on the infamous 911 day. But while stopping one day in this capital city, we decided to pay a visit to Fifth and Harvey Streets.You are moved by the silence when entering the area where the Alfred P. Murrah building once stood. The granite used on this pathway was salvaged from the Murrah building. The field of empty chairs is a tribute to the 168 Americans who were killed April 19, 1995. The nine rows represent the nine floors of the former Murrah building. Each person’s chair is positioned in the row that corresponds to the floor on which they worked or were visiting. The five westernmost Empty Chairs honor those who were killed outside the Murrah Building. The reflecting pond is what was once the former section of Fifth Street. An American Elm tree, known as the “Survivor Tree”, survived the April 19th bombing. The tree’s bark protects it from disease and bugs. At each end of the memorial is a wall, These walls are called “the gates of time.” The bombing occurred at 9:02 a.m. The 9:01 and 9:03 on the walls represent the second before the bombing and the second after the bombing, respectively. The numbers are a reminder of the innocence proceeding the attack, the moment that everything changed and the hope and heroism that came in the days following the attack. As people pass through and visit, the silence is still deafening. The havoc that the murderous and deranged Timothy McVeigh has wreaked seems as if it were just months passed, yet here it is a decade and a half later. We spent about and hour and a half just silently walking the grounds, reading the signs, markers, and sanctioned graffitti that will be preserved over time. Even the wall of the adjacent buildings have been covered with a sealant to remain in their prior state as a remembrance to those that perished on this infamous day.
I must give credit where it is due. When beginning to photograph I failed to check my batteries and just two photos into the shoot, my Canon was dead. Being the quintessential Boy Scout was not in my blood today as I was not the “prepared” lad I should have been. The credit for these photos belongs to Robin, and her growing skills is evidenced in many of these shots. I became possessed by this memorial and went back later that evening to get a view of the same from a different prospective which I shall share as soon as my batteries recharge.